Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ARC Review: Secrets of Neverwood by Libby Drew, Diana Copland, and G.B. Lindsey

Secrets of NeverwoodFrom the blurb:
Three foster brothers are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. They have nothing in common but a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother—that upon her death, they would restore the house and preserve it as a home for troubled boys.
But going home is never easy. 
Cal struggles to recover from past heartbreak, while Danny fears his mistakes are too big to overcome. Devon believes he may never break down the barriers that separate him from honest emotion.
On the path to brotherhood, they discover the old mansion holds more than dusty furniture and secret passageways. Audrey’s spirit still walks its halls, intent on guiding “her boys” toward true love, and an old mystery stirs up a new danger—one that could cost the men far more than just the house.

Heather's rating:

I've been sitting on this review FOREVER, not because it wasn't a good anthology, but because it is a hard book for me to describe.

All of these books were written in a similar tone with a similar vibe. The stories are all lightly paranormal, with the amount of ghostly intervention varying from book to book. The novellas all revolve around a trio of foster brothers who've inherited their home from their recently deceased foster mom. All of the brothers have BIG issues; with themselves, with their relationships, with being a foster kid. Each story is the foster son's individual tale and in each story, the person finds love.

Some of the stories were better than others.

One Door Closes was the first in the anthology, and the weakest, IMO. It was very angsty, with Calvin being a tough characters for me to relate to. I also didn't really see much relationship development between him and Will, and I didn't connect to them as a couple. In fact, I saw more of the relationship between them as viewed through others' eyes in the other brothers' stories. I also didn't get a very clear picture of the brothers in this book. Though the writing was good and the story was well conceived, I found it to be a bit distant and cold. I didn't dislike this one, but I wasn't drawn in by it. (2.5 stars)

The Growing Season was my favorite of the bunch. I loved twinky, defiant, proud Danny and I really enjoyed seeing his relationship with Sam grow and develop. It was the most moving story for me, and I think the strongest, writing-wise. (4 stars)

The Lost Year was also pretty good. As a parent myself, the story touched me and I related well to Nicholas. I'm not sure that I bought Nicholas and Devon together, however. It seemed a bit like a circumstantial pairing and less like a love match. Still, I enjoyed the plot and pacing very much, though Audrey's presence at the end was a little OTT for me. (3.5 stars)

Though each story is billed as a stand-alone, I can't conceive reading each story separately. They really are better as a set, with each story building on and expanding on the others. I think readers of more melancholy, atmospheric stories will enjoy this novella bundle.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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Thanks for checking out my review!! <3

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